CMS makes changes to improve scores on end of year test - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

CMS makes changes to improve scores on end of year test

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Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) students are preparing to take their End of Grade and End of Course tests.  Students start taking the all important test the first of June.

Last year the test became harder and the results for some CMS schools were disappointing.  The school district vowed to make changes to help students do better on their tests.

One thing that changed is the district is now using a test called MAP (Measures of Academic Progress).  Students take this test at the beginning, middle and end of the school year. Results are used so teachers can know what students are lacking.

"Then the teacher is able to personalize the instruction to that child," CMS Executive Director of Learning and Teaching Chuck Nusinov said. "Based upon what that formative assessment gives us to help guide the instruction."

MAP is not about memorization but more about pushing students to think analytically.

"These new assessments really are about engaging kids in critical thinking," Nusinov said. "And make sure they can problem solve and have the skills to be college and career ready - able to engage in the 21st century."

CMS leaders are also talking to other school districts to find out what they are doing differently to help students.

"You always grow as an educator," CMS Chief Learning Services Officer Dr. Valerie Truesdale said. "Learning from your colleagues about things that work in their communities and things that might be applicable in our community."

Educators believe the new standardized test is good for the students and will better prepare them for the real world.

"Ultimately when they get to that step," Nusinov said. "When they are preparing for post high school - we want them to be engaged in all that they do, whether it's a college application, it's a workforce application or even a resume."

Teachers have adjusted their way of instruction. They are now adding more problem solving into their classrooms.

"It's a lot of in-depth questioning," CMS teacher Donald Robbins said. "It's not just what's the answer, it's how did you get there. What were you thinking and things like that."

CMS leaders are hoping the changes they put in place this year will help students do better on the end of the year tests.  They believe having students do the MAP test three times a year has made a difference.

"We are seeing very good results come back," Nusinov said. "In terms of how our students are doing against the nation, but ultimately when we take the assessments at the end of the year in NC, we'll see how we perform against the other counties and most importantly how we did against last year."

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